Zambia’s peace shattered by secession unrest

By January 21, 2011

Zambia (MNN) — Western Zambia
wants to secede from the rest of the country–a desire that sparked violent
rioting in Mongu last week.

This week, the government is
charging dozens of people with treason, which provokes those who are already
agitated about the issue.

Rioters were calling for
restoration of the 1964 Barotse agreement that granted autonomy from the rest
of the country. However, the Zambian
government refused the request, saying there can't be a state within a
state.  

While the violence has subsided,
the tensions are high. In the midst of it, stands the work of Kids Alive
International.
Matt Parker  with Kids Alive says, "We
actually work with about 500 children in Mongu. We have several homes; we have
a couple of schools that we operate. It's actually a very tense time. Our children and staff have been safe,
but again, we're monitoring the situation." 

The government has cracked down
in the meantime. According to news
reports, they've arrested over 130 protestors, charged dozens with treason,
forbidden large gatherings, and shut down a regional radio station accused of
stirring discontent.

Although instability is frequently disruptive to ministries,
the longstanding political friction hasn't hampered their growth. In fact, Parker says, "We've just,
over the past year, begun construction of a Children's Village in Mongu, which
will have six or seven children's homes, a school, and community programs." Kids Alive opened their first Home on the site in 2010 for older boys, and they are putting
finishing touches on a second Home for the older girls.

With such a large
presence and reputation in the area, "This will give us opportunities to share
Christ's love. As I said, we have a big presence in Mongu. We have a lot of
relationships with people in the community so it gives us a good opportunity to
give hope."

Kids Alive recently bought new land for the Emmanuel School
and had a donation of extra land to extend the Jerusalem School. Plans are in the works to construct modern school
facilities that will enable the students to have a better future.   

"Pray that we would be
effective witnesses for Christ in that community, and that through our work,
through our witness, many other people would come to know Him." Pray, too, for safety for the team, and for wisdom
as they monitor the developments in Zambia.  

Click here for details
of Kids Alive's Zambia programs.

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